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The Childless Mother

Dealing with infertility and finding happiness

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FERTILITY TREATMENT

Infertile and more honest than ever!

As we set out on our journey to become parents. Fresh faced and still having sex just for fun ….. imagine!! Ahh those were the days. I was ever the optimist.

I believed that the world had something to teach me out of every mistake or struggle….. like for example, when I was 16 and drank cans of special brew before a party and wore stupidly high heels, I promptly fell flat on my face trying to dance and injured my best mate (sorry Manda!) still the scratch can be seen today šŸ˜¬šŸ˜¬, I knew the world was teaching me that I was not a drinker. That and the huge hang over contributed to me being almost T total ever since. I was the sensible one. No more drunken falls for me……. ummm well almost none šŸ˜¬šŸ˜¬. See positive from the negative!

While I had the niggle for years that something may be wrong. I don’t know why. I just always thought I might struggle to have children, despite my monthly showing up aged 10 and being regular as clockwork AND a doctor telling me not to share even a tooth brush if I didn’t want to get pregnant. Yeah that was an accurate diagnosis šŸ™„šŸ™„.

As time progressed and it was becoming obviously there really was a problem I was showered with the usual, well meaning words of comfort. I would nod and smile and thank them or accept the suggestions of treatments and anecdotes of friends or family members that tried x and y and finally bamb. Pregnant!! Miracle.

I would hide my hurt from people. I always knew they meant well however wrong they got it. I would make excuses telling them not to feel bad that I was ok. The overriding thought being , it’s not their fault I can’t have kids. Why should they watch what they say to me.

For years that continued. I would smile and then cry silent tears when I was alone or with my husband. Why us. Why do I have to put a brave face on it.

As time moved on the anger started to seep out. I realised something.

I blamed myself for this. I felt I deserved it. I felt bad for making them feel uncomfortable at having to tell their Barron friend or family member about their pregnancy. Poor them I would think, poor them for being made to feel so bad for something so wonderful.

With my last miscarriage came a rage, a moment of FUCK THIS SHIT. (Sorry mam). I wrote about it publicly, you all know this that’s how my blog was born. But I started to think about all those other women and men out there making excuses and glossing over their pain. And then the realisation hit me.

ITS NOT OUR FAULT EITHER!!!!!!

It’s not my fault that my body is rejecting our babies. It’s not my husbands fault he fell in love with a woman that can’t have children. For my own sanity I had to STOP making it ok for people to say things that hurt us. To be honest.

Some people will never understand, perhaps they got their family easy and they don’t remember the yearning or haven’t experienced it. Perhaps they see our lives and think wow you have so much to be thankful for don’t wallow in what you can’t have. Perhaps they are ok with not having kids themselves and haven’t felt the pure desperation, of the anticipation of that one pregnancy test that will change everything. That will make us feel complete. Perhaps they have never sat through a scan while a nurse desperately tries to find the heartbeat that will never come. Perhaps they haven’t seen their friend or family member crumpled on their bathroom floor, broken and sobbing as their baby leaves their body. Another baby lost to heaven. Another imagined life never lived.

So you see. Were many would read my posts and our comments and perhaps judge us as bitter, I would tell you to look deeper to imagine that pain. Damn right it’s made me bitter at times. I am not a bad person. I’m surviving this the best I can, we all are. And in the very small space where we can all meet and not be judged we can be honest. We can draw strength from each other to push back to tell people. I’m not ok. I don’t need to fake it anymore and I can be happy for you but sad for me.

No one has the right to tell us how we should be dealing with this. Sometimes I want to scream and break plates against the wall I’m so angry. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed. Sometimes I feel so completely alone that the only Ray of light I can find is in my husbands arms and with you beautiful people on here. Some days I feel happy again. Some days my smile is real.

It’s ok to feel anger. It’s messy and ugly this journey. We can’t all feel the higher purpose and move on so easy. I’m incredibly proud and happy for anyone that’s there it gives me hope that one day I will feel the optimist I used to be.

Some people may never understand it and get angry in return when you can’t share their joy completely. We may get called selfish and unreasonable. Told that it’s not their fault. But remember it’s not yours either. I think some people forget this. They think we are in control of how we feel and can just “adopt” or “move on” these are the people that can’t understand and you will waste too much energy on trying to change their minds.

The best thing I can take from this journey is that I’m ok with people disliking me now. I no longer have the need to not upset people. If other people’s happiness comes at the expense of my sanity it’s not worth it. There has to be a happy medium.

The anger gets less and less as time goes on. Thankfully. I don’t feel the urge to hide away so much but I think part of this is because I do feel confident to say now,

“NO I don’t want to do that. I am in too much pain to pretend anymore. ”

You hope that people understand. Most people do. If they don’t then that’s ok too. As much as it’s my choice not to fake it any more. They have the right to be upset if they feel that way too. You can only be responsible for your own happiness. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but once I accepted this. Things have become a lot more simple for me. I’m a frickin’ infertile unicorn.

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Does it ever get better?

I remember being in the “thick of it” trying to conceive. Every month was a scramble through the cycle days, scheduled sex or treatments and then the dreaded two week wait that ultimately always ended with me crumpled on a bathroom floor with my monthly bitch or a negative test.

Oh but if the tests negative we cling on to the fact that it’s maybe too early. Even though we know it isn’t and the fact is we just aren’t pregnant. Not even close.

Damn it!!

Looking back over the last 15 nearly 16 years of trying, 10 of them really really trying all I can think now is …. how much time I have wasted being sad and angry.

It’s a process we Childless mothers must go through. No short cuts. The fact is for some of us the healing never really completes, it’s like any grief you learn to live with it.

In some ways perhaps I will never feel totally at peace with it, but I am pleased to be coming to terms with the reality of not having the children we so desperately wanted. The desperation and utter devastation I felt all the time. Even when I was smiling for the cameras, my insides hurt.

I feel sad that we have to endure it. I feel angry at the injustice or having lost our babies and still having empty arms but I feel like the rawness is settling now.

I can see a life without children. It may not be the plan but then they say you want to hear God laugh tell her your plans.

When we were in the middle of trying, when there was still hope I couldn’t ever imagine this day, but then I never imagined looking back on those years feeling sad that I basically tortured myself for something I had no control over.

I know many of you reading this are at that point now, the thought of giving up or moving on may seem impossible. I want to tell you hang on it will get better. For many of you that may result in getting your dream. For those like me who may never, with time it does get better.

I used to hate people saying to me “Times a great healer” I hate to admit that it’s right to a certain extent. But it’s not just time. It’s resilience too. It’s raising your head like the warrior you are and pushing on. If there’s still hope keep pushing forward for that dream. If there’s none find something to cling to, to get you through.

For me it was my marriage. It’s reflecting on the life we have together even without children. It’s seeing the good in the spare time I may have. Do I still hurt? Of cause I do!! This journey leaves deep scars but there has to be a way to move forward with a new future. To not beat ourselves up for being failures. How can we be? We have taken this life and made the best we could.

I’m not perfect. Far from it. But I am determined to not let this take more years from me. The saddest thing for me is the taint that has left looking back on my twenties.

I’m sure there will be more bad days to come but for now I’m happy with just not feeling like I am silently screaming everyday. No one being able to hear me or reach me. There were so many success stories online when I was a couple of years in. No one really talked about what if it doesn’t happen. I had no hope of seeing a life without children or if I would ever get through it.

It’s hard. It’s brutal. But you will get through it. There is peace to be found again. There is a plan B. You just have to be ready to find it, that’s what takes time.

Stop asking THE question.

Ok so maybe this isn’t something that people who have had their families quite easily think about as a problem. But it is for some of us who can’t have kids.

If there is one thing other than just making couples feel less alone I want to achieve out of this blog, it’s to stop this question.

“So, when are you going to have kids?”

Especially when it’s followed with,

“You’re not getting any younger you know!”

The possibility of this question is what adds the anxiety of family and friends social events, especially if there is a new baby or pregnant woman attending. That regularly would lead to this question to anyone married or in a long relationship and still child free.

Some people decide not to have children. That’s ok. If that’s the choice then no one has the right to challenge that or tell them they are “missing out”. Or selfish. What you choose for your own life isn’t what someone else might want, even if you don’t understand it. You don’t have to. It’s no one else’s business.

Some people can’t have children and they don’t want to talk about it. They want this painful journey to be private. By asking the question you are putting them in a position where they have to lie or hide their hurt.

Some of us are ok talking about it but perhaps don’t want to go into a lot of detail of invasive and upsetting treatments in a room full of people.

Some people can’t have kids because of horrific events that have scared their bodies. They no more want to talk about the events that caused the problems than they do want to explain why they do not have children yet!

The solution is a simple one. If someone is trying for kids or pregnant you will know soon enough. They will perhaps want to share that news with you, or you would know by the small human that will appear in time. It’s an easy fix to prevent so much upset, hurt and frankly awkward conversations by just minding your own business.

I understand completely no one ever asks this question with malice in their hearts, in fact I would suspect for many it’s from a place of love They don’t know it’s a cause of pain for someone if they don’t know the story, but here’s the thing. We don’t need to know every detail about everyone’s life if they don’t want to share it.

I am an open book. I always have been. I have shared our story because I know it has helped those people who can’t find the words to express the depth of their grief and pain. Words have never been a problem for me and it actually helps me to share. But I hope by me sharing what can be upsetting, it can just prevent those awkward moments and save some people from hurt.

I know people will say “you can’t do anything nowadays without offending or hurting someone’s feelings” and that may appear to be true! I don’t know about you but I constantly try to work on myself. I’m not perfect. I’m sure I have said or done things to offend someone so if I knew I had, I would work hard to not do that again. If you know something is upsetting why would you continue to do it?

Also sometimes I do think there is an element of auto conversation. Someone following the lines of small talk, without realising what a loaded and hurtful question that can be.

That person that’s looking you in the eyes and smiling, telling you that “no we don’t want kids just yet, we are too busy travelling, too selfish, loving the lay ins too much, happy being just the two of us” but inside they are already planning how soon they can politely leave and the ache in their throats is so bad they struggle to get those words out. They will most likely find a quiet place after and cry. They will sob for the injustice of having to answer these questions again and again when they are trying so hard. They will wonder for the millionth time “why me, what did I do wrong”

Imagine the slap in the face it would be to then hear “you’re being selfish!” This happens to people regularly. It’s cruel and unnecessary!!

You won’t know anything about this because S/he has become a pro at hiding their pain.

The question I have for you is …. should they have to? Wouldn’t it just be easier if you didn’t ask THAT question of a couple, if you don’t know what their plans are or what they have been through. There are many, many questions you can ask that keep conversation going.

“When are you having kids?” Or “are you trying for kids?” doesn’t need to be one of them.

Reintroduction

As we are approaching the 10k followed mark on the Facebook and blog, I thought I would do another little introduction for those who have just arrived.

šŸ‘‹šŸ‘‹

Hello. Welcome. Pleased you found my little page.

I started to write a journal some years ago, it vented my inner most fears and frustrations in the early stages of us trying for children. I never shared much online because it seemed like it would be wrong, like it was a dirty secret.

As the years passed I was slowly feeling like I was being left behind. As more and more of our friends and family had children, I started to worry this may never happen for us. I don’t think I had ever thought about it to seriously until that time. Then the scary question that all couples struggling to have kids are too scared to out loud. What if this never happens for us. What if we can’t have a baby.

I started to change. Small little withdrawals I think at first and now some 15 and half years in, now I feel like there is a gaping wide hole between me and the rest of the world. I got angry. The break came when we lost a pregnancy at the same time my cousin, who was like my little brother was battling and ultimately died of cancer. My world completely fell apart and what little of the old me I clung on to completely crumbled. I got white hot mad. I was sick of feeling like it was a dirty thing to be discussing, I started by sharing a blog on another one of my projects. I wrote from a place of pure pain and grief and the amount of reaction and support I got was overwhelming. Suddenly I knew what good could come from all this heart ache. The Childless Mother was born.

It proved that while it might be an uncomfortable subject for some to read, the people who need to feel supported are the reason I do this. The ones like me who are the only ones in their “circle” that are childless and feel completely alone. If I make one person feel a little better and less lonely I’m happy.

I have PCOS, my husband is fine. He could have children but he chooses me. He’s never been bothered too much one way or another. In some ways that’s good, but I still feel guilt as I know he would be an amazing dad. It’s so sad.

Well, in summary that’s me. I’m late 30’s now and our only chance is IVF. We are loosing weight and it’s going well but slowly.

I hope this page helps a little. Even if it’s just a place to find others that can truly appreciate the pain.

The old familiar ache

The longer I have gone without successfully getting the children I so desperately want, the more familiar I am with the pain that goes with that longing.

It’s not that I ever have gotten over it, more like I just have found a way to deal with it. Having the pain just becomes part of who I am. There are however still moments. Today was one of them.

As you may remember I changed my job last year I am working with my husband now and part of the services we offer is to hospitals. We install cubicle tracks etc.

Today we did a large job, at the maternity ward. YAY.

It was a tough job so most of my attention was on what we were doing, but the longer I was there seeing the pregnant bellies come in for their scans, hearing the heart beats from the scanning room. Oh my. My heart just ached.

Being in the rooms , the little baby cribs set up for their next patient. Hearing some of those little ones crying.

At one point I was pretty obsessed with maternity and baby programmes. I would watch them enviously wishing that one day I would be going through this, excitedly cradling my big belly, probably terrified of what was to come but equally excited to meet my baby. Today as I was wheeling one of the little cribs out of our way I suddenly thought;

“I’m never going to experience this”

That thought was like a kick to my stomach. And the ache that’s been dormant for at least a little while is back.

I was looking at the thank you cards pinned proudly to the wall, wondering what I would have done. If we had managed it, I would probably be sending most of the thank you cards online.

Such simple things that anyone that’s not struggled to have children perhaps would never understand.

I have to go back tomorrow. And I will do it because we often have to do things that hurt us. Seems like we have to just accept that as part of a childfree life. A pain I don’t think will ever go.

Just wonderful. Sigh.

Dear Santa….

Another year has passed. I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life so there’s not much I can ask you for. Material things seem unimportant as long as I have warmth, shelter and food. So many don’t have these things so anything above this feels greedy. I do have something above this however that I am so incredibly desperate for.

A baby.

It may seem repetitive as I have asked for this for so long and in truth I almost didn’t ask at all this year but who knows how many more years I have that it’s even a possibility? I’m getting old in baby making years so they say. I don’t feel it. My brain still thinks I am 18 šŸ¤¦šŸ»ā€ā™€ļøšŸ¤·šŸ»ā€ā™€ļø.

As each year passes I’m resigned more and more to a life without a child. I try hard to focus on the good things in my life but the ache just won’t leave me. I watch with jealous eyes as families make plans for your big day, the activities and adventures they have, the pantos and nativities, theplans and parties. I watch some what displaced and out of reach. We just don’t fit in.

Each year I have wondered what the next will bring, the optimism that this will be our last as Childless, next year will be our year. As time moves on the optimism has died, so this year as I reflect on the ones before it I will actually change my Christmas list.

This year if you can’t bring us a baby, please bring me peace and acceptance. Make the pain I feel from the chips and breaks my heart from every child we have lost feel less. As we wake on Christmas morning I no longer want to mourn the loss and wonder what the day would have been with excited cries of “Santa’s been”. Let me be truly content with journey we have had to take.

I look forward to another day with my beautiful husband and hope that one day the above will happen.

Thank you, Merry Christmas ā¤ļøšŸŽ…šŸ»

Childless at Christmas ….. Iā€™m broken.

I try really hard to carry on and don’t let the scars show but sometimes it’s hard.

I always find Christmas difficult although I absolutely love this time of year it’s bitter sweet. The reality of dealing with infertility has meant for me that I have built and armour around my heart. I tell myself I’m ok and to not think too much about the what ifs.

I do well at this normally.

Just now I’m failing miserably.

As my husband and I sat in our cosy little living room the other night, he was watching the tea time game shows he loves so much and shouting the answers (mainly right) at the TV like the contestant might hear him and I sat doing a 5D diamond art, I felt an over whelming sense of grief and loss. I don’t know what sparked it or why it flooded me with sadness but it did.

My mind wandered to what we may be doing as a family with children, certainly not what we were actually doing. Perhaps we would be doing homework or bath time and stories. Perhaps we would be colouring in with them or praying for a moments peace to be doing exactly what we were actually were doing having “me time” while they ran rampaged around the house. Maybe we would be watching a christmas movie together as we hung the decorations. ……. I can’t even continue to finish this line of thought in blog form. It hurts too much.

I bury those thoughts so deep that when they escape and I let my self wonder, I feel the crack in my amour and I cling on so tight to the tears that threaten. Not just the silent tears I have so often cried but the body wracking sobs that I hold in. I hold them so tight my head and throat ache from them.

It was made worse by reading a news article of a little baby around a month old murdered by his mother and step father while they were high. I’m completely broken by that little boy. The life he could have had if he was only born to someone like us that would have protected him, kept him safe, loved him. I don’t understand how the world is so cruel.

People often say that they can’t imagine how it feels to be going though what we and others like us have. I think the feeling is a simple one. To step back just for a few moments of your busy life, to look at your beautiful children doing what they are doing good and maybe the tear your hair out moments too. Now imagine what your life would be if they were never there.

I know some may glamourise our life, that we don’t know tired. We don’t know worry. We can just do what we want when we want but the fact is I would do anything to have my life turned upside down. No ones life is perfect. I know if we had kids we wouldn’t find it easy. It’s bloody hard. But nothing worth having is easy. I want so badly to know.

To hold a child that’s a little of me and my crazy family and part my husband and his family. It’s so sad that we may never know.

I know I’ll be ok. I will find a way of pulling my amour back into place and continue, after so long it becomes the norm for me. Still, every now and then, I do wonder just how it would feel to be complete. To have this hole in my heart repaired. I think that would be a relief.

We are a team. Thank you to my husband.

When we start to look for the positives and life plan b of it all the one thing I remain so thankful for is my husband.

Sometimes I think this infertility thing is harder on him, especially the pregnancies we have lost. The physical pain is with me, so that meant people asked me how I was doing not many really did Ben. He didn’t know how to deal with the loss of our babies any more than I did but somehow I think a lot of people expected him to just get on with it.

I think feeling helpless to make things any better for me. To not know what to do and then process how he was feeling himself is a lot. He couldn’t fix any of it, but him being there was enough for me.

He’s held my hand through my very lowest moments. He has pretty much held the pieces of me together when I have completely fallen apart. We have rebuilt together, often he says nothing about his own struggle.

There’s a lot of focus on mental health now and not using such terms as “Man up!” I am so incredibly pleased these conversations happen. It’s important for people to know they aren’t alone and it’s not a weakness to need help. You wouldn’t ask someone to mend a broken leg by “smiling more!”

Perhaps the infertility issues is still a delicate one to talk about between anyone but it seems especially so for men, certainly the idea of masculinity being linked to sperm count seems ridiculers to me but I get it. I myself have questioned my womanhood being linked to giving birth to a child.

There are probably men out there not sure how to deal with this journey and perhaps thinking they are saying the wrong thing at times. Frustrated that they can’t do more.

I’ve heard conversations of “that poor girl” after a miscarriage but rarely do I hear “that poor man”.

I’m so thankful that we have a good marriage, we are a team. He’s my best friend. At times we want to kill each other but who doesn’t after 15 years together?! After every set back and heartache we dust ourselves down and get back up. We try again.

My single biggest regret from all of this isn’t that I won’t be a mother. That makes me sad of cause, but it’s that he won’t be a father. He doubts if it’s for him even now, but I know for sure he would be the best dad.

He has such a big heart, he’s so kind. He’s a hard worker, we both have worked so hard for the things we have. Mainly because we want to travel šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚. I wouldn’t choose a different life even if I could, if it meant doing it with out him, no thank you.

I will always look forward to a future with him, no matter what it brings. Life doesn’t always go to plan. But we are finding a way of making the plan work for us and that’s a a start right?

Sometimes I just get so angry!!

It’s fair to say over the years I have felt the full spectrum of human emotions while trying for children.

As we are 15 years in some of them have mellowed over time others still burn brightly.

I want to say.

“It’s what life has planned for you embrace it and don’t be bitter.”

But then my inner bitch is also screaming like a three year old having a tantrum.

“ITS JUST NOT F-ING FAIR!!!”

I don’t have control over that feeling. It comes out sometimes in random burst of rage. The injustice of not being able to be a mum and the loss of our babies burns bright and bitter.

Sometimes the need to hold just one of our babies hurts so badly I want to scream. My heart aches and while most of the time I can put a smiling front on it, only mainly sharing my pain on these pages and focus on the other wonderful things in my life, I have come to accept that I may always feel this anger too.

I look around me at so many beautiful pictures of new families, of new babies and I feel a warm happiness for them but selfishly long to know what that feels like. To bring home that new baby and experience that happy exhausted moments. To watch as my husband sleeps with our child safely on his chest as our family come to meet the new arrival.

People will say to let anger go that it’s no good, I don’t agree for me sometimes my anger is all that’s got me through a day, because if I didn’t feel that raw white rage then I would feel the alternative which is the very deep sorrow.

I never would have thought I would be a bitter person. I am always glass half full. I am working hard to not let the grief turn my heart to stone just so I don’t feel anything. I wish I was ok with that but I am not. So a compromise is letting the anger out sometimes. Accepting that it’s ok that I feel that way.

If you have anyone in your life that doesn’t understand this then you often have to be a little selfish sometimes. You just have to understand why you feel that way not others.

One thing that sets the anger off is seeing so many people on my pages hurting because they are being pressured to go to family baby events.

I see a lot of messages and comments from our community of people frustrated because family members, friends and sometimes even their partners don’t understand why they are angry or maybe don’t feel like they can face events.

I will repeatedly say it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make sure we are happy and ok but really is it so bad if your friend/ family member doesn’t come to a baby shower/ event? Because they literally want to crawl into their bed and cry?

People will say … “can’t they just be happy for us? It’s not our fault they can’t have kids!” – actually a comment someone made to one of our community.

Here’s the thing, no, no it’s not your fault but by saying this you are suggesting it’s theirs. IT ISN’T. From the moment you announced your pregnancy that person would be very happy for you but equally sad for themselves and wondering how they will make it through the next 9 months and beyond trying to be a good friend to you while dealing with the crippling grief of wanting so badly what you have.

They will fake it a good deal of the time. Why would you want someone to force them self into a situation where the event is literally all about the very thing they can not have and to do that for you to make you feel more comfortable and happy. Yes you may only have one baby shower etc but I guarantee you most of the other people in your life are running and jumping for joy at your new arrival. It’s a wonderful and happy time for you and those close to you. Enjoy it. That one couple loves you and your baby but they are struggling.

I didn’t want anyone to feel bad for me although I understand why they did, I want them to enjoy their happy time. It sucks that sometimes I can’t embrace it completely with them but neither side should feel bad and for that. No one has made a choice for us to not be able to have kids, it’s medical. We are all just dealing with it the best we can.

A rather crude analogy someone said to me recently

– you wouldn’t expect a diabetic to eat a chocolate Birthday cake to show they celebrated your Birthday – so why do we ask couples with a medical condition that’s ripping their hearts out to endure events baby centred so that they don’t make the new parents feel bad.

We can be happy for you and support you in other ways that don’t involve me playing party games and changing a nappy on a doll blind folded while everyone talks baby’s. Can you understand how awful that is for us to sit through? In reverse I wouldn’t want anyone to do that for me if it hurt them so badly. Your friend that just lost her baby, that just had a failed round of IVF, that has been trying and trying with no result, she is basically trying to hold her shit together and not let the hurt and grief and anger out. I don’t think it’s so much to understand that pain and say,

“I know you love me and my baby, but it’s ok for you not to do this! I understand!”

Give them a choice.

It’s a lonely label to be under and yes hard sometimes to understand if you haven’t been there. People are awkward and don’t know how to talk about it. It’s actually ok to admit that.

I’m lucky I am surrounded by people that do get it and are hurting for me. I think if we ever do get pregnant and progress to having a child it will be celebrated as a king or queen. Somehow that knowledge makes the rage build šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚. Lol.

Or maybe I’m just an angry person now. My battle scars leak rage. I’ll accept that for my sanity.

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